USA TODAY Sports
There are 11 teams jockeying for position at the bottom of the NBA's standings. Or as an optimist might put it, the top of the NBA draft board. Let's take a closer look.
The Detroit Pistons are off today but that doesn't mean you shouldn't keep your eyes on the scoreboard. Tonight's NBA action features the Toronto Raptors, Charlotte Bobcats, New Orleans Hornets, Washington Wizards, Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers. What do they all have in common? A sub-.400 winning percentage and a home near the NBA's cellar.
A week ago, we examined the NBA's worst teams, their remaining schedules and their expected win totals using the most recent 20 games Pythagorean win percentage. And for Pistons fans the news was good, an expected bottom-five finish and, thus, a top-five pick.
Let's look specifically at this weekend's games and figure out the contests we should pay attention to.
Two games feature four of our highlighted teams. Obviously, we should all be rooting for the Raptors to beat the Bobcats as there is no way Charlotte can win enough to vault past the Pistons. Hornets at Wizards is a little tougher but I'm going for New Orleans. Washington has a much softer schedule the rest of the way so N.O. needs any win it can get.
The Suns have a small chance as the Hawks are a .500 club over its past 20 games while the Wolves, Cavs and Magic should be easy prey in their games.
The Pistons are lucky to play the Blazers in Portland as somehow the Blazers have 30 wins and still have managed to be among the worst teams on the road in the NBA. Chalk this up as another Pistons L. Root for the Wiz at home and against them next week when they play the Suns again, this time on the road.
You can probably pour one out already for the Raps as they are unlikely to stop the Heat win streak. The Magic are terrible but the Bucks have been remarkably inconsistent. Any time Monta Ellis and/or Brandon Jennings are knocking down shots they are practically unbeatable. But they are prone to streaky shooting and are always beatable. Minnesota has a much easier schedule than the Hornets so I'll be rooting for Anthony Davis and company. And the Kings are facing a likely Kobe-less Lakers squad that looks vulnerable just as it was seeming to rights its ship.